One in three people in the UK will experience back or neck pain at some point in their lives but is most commonly experienced in those between the ages of 40 and 50.
The Work Foundation Report estimates that 12.5 percent of all days lost at work are due to some form of back pain and the condition, which can be miserable for those who experience it, is often the result of a specific trauma or injury, surgery, or even an underlying medical condition such as arthritis. In some cases, back and neck pain can occur from out of nowhere and the symptoms can escalate rapidly.
During lockdown we have seen a surge in chronic back and neck pain here at Integro Clinics, due to the fact that our patients now spend many hours crouched over laptops and have experienced a lack of regular exercise. People can also experience shooting or burning sensations in their legs and feet, and this is commonly known as sciatica.
Back pain can occur in any region of the back, from the neck down to the base of the spine and can be mild to severe. If you experience chronic back pain (pain that lasts longer than 3 months) there may be something more serious going on and you will need to seek medical attention. Sciatica has its own range of symptoms and these include:
These symptoms can become worse if you sneeze or cough and can often be experienced alongside pack pain. However, the other symptoms can become worse than the back pain itself. If you are only experiencing back pain, it’s most likely that you do not have sciatica.
There are several causes of back or neck pain, from medical conditions to trauma or injury. Here are some examples:
Certain activities or practices can make a person more susceptible to back pain, neck pain or sciatica:
Modern medicines and physiotherapy can often great help with back pain, neck pain or sciatica. However, medications can be limited and can do more harm than good. Opioids may help initially, but can reduce their efficacy after a few weeks. They can also cause sedation, brain-fog and constipation, with a high risk of dependency. Medicines used for nerve pain, low mood and poor sleep, often affect patients in terms of memory and alertness and do less to help with pain reduction. The same is often true for many of the other medicines licensed for treating pain. Therefore, in many cases, even in the best of pain clinics, x-ray guided spinal injections, traditional pain medicines, expert physiotherapists and clinical psychologists, acupuncture and homoeopathy are simply not enough and we struggle to help people rid themselves of back pain, enough to be able to enjoy life again.
There has been proven success of medical cannabis helping a range of pain-related conditions including back pain, neck pain and sciatica, when taken orally or inhaled using a special cannabis flower vaporiser. In a 2019 study carried out in the United States, chronic back pain sufferers experienced a significant reduction in pain symptoms, after being treated with cannabis. A study from 2012 stated that cannabis can in fact help lead to a greater cumulative relief of pain, meaning that fewer opiates are required, which reduces the impact of the associated side-effects from taking these strong medical pain killers.
The cause and symptoms of your chronic back pain, back pain or sciatica will be diagnosed during a no obligation consultation and examination, here at Integro Clinics. We will identify the type of pain, severity, functional impact and context. After a thorough examination and medical history check, your clinician will make recommendations for treatment or other investigations, depending on the underlying cause of your chronic back pain and sciatica. Following this initial assessment, we can provide a treatment plan, which may include medical cannabis as a treatment for your concerns.